You’ve heard all the fancy bench tropes the cable-heads spew. The cliches of what it takes to make a successful bench. You’ll hear a bench awash with talent on an awful team derided, while the bland bench of a contender spoken of with reverence usually reserved for saints and war heroes. What makes a good bench? Does it have to be such a harsh dichotomy? Success equals good and failure equals bad? That same solid but uninspiring bench would look a lot worse if it had gone a few less rounds in the playoffs. Likewise, that young bunch of whippersnappers who won ten games the year previous would suddenly look like a small collection of demigods if their team managed to put together a winning record.
So back to the analysts. They fall in love with catch-phrases or counterfactuals, “the bench mob”, the “7 or 8 man rotation”, “could the University of Kentucky beat this bench?” but all that is merely noise. They can’t really have much to say about a bench players they’ve never heard of. They are star worshippers and not many stars live on the bench. They might know the 6th Man of the Year candidates (ostensibly a way for the bench to be honored, at least its most productive member), but they really spend most of their time talking about whether LeBron is a coward or whether Kobe cries whenever he thinks about Michael Jordan and boy isn’t that Steph Curry a nice young man!
This list is a biased but well intentioned attempt to honor (and by honor I mean mention) and evaluate the bench dudes, who happen to be the vast majority of the players in the league. There’s no true way to rank a bench from one to thirty. Cold hard stats give us part of the story, on-court chemistry and upside give us another, and our eyes (the factor with the least influence) finishes the job. Be advised, every word of this could end up being wrong. I’m no basketball prophet. Kwame Brown could turn into an All-Star FINALLY. Ben McLemore could break his leg the second day of the season. It’s all so unknown, which is a great thing. So understand, this is a ranking that is drenched in subjectivity and I fully expect to have no one agree with a single choice. With all that being said, let’s rank some benches!